March 4 (Year One)
The two heavenly messengers arrived in Sodom that evening, and Lot was sitting at the gate of the city. When Lot saw them, he went out to meet them and bowed low, his face touching the ground.
Lot: Please, my lords, take time to come into your servant’s house to spend the night and wash your feet. Then you can rise early and be on your way.
Messengers: No, we will be fine spending the night in the city square.
But Lot persisted and urged them to come home with him and enjoy his hospitality. They agreed finally and came with Lot to his house. Lot prepared a huge meal for them, served with unleavened bread, and they ate until they were full. But before they could lie down to rest for the night, the men of the city—that is, the men of Sodom, young and old alike, every last one of them—surrounded the house and called out to Lot.
Men of Sodom: Where are the men who came with you to your house tonight? We saw them go in with you! Bring them out here. We want to have sex with them!
Lot slipped out of the door to address the men, shutting it firmly behind him.
Lot: Look, I beg you, brothers, don’t do this. Don’t sink to this level of depravity! Look—I have two daughters. Both are virgins. How about this: I’ll bring them out for you instead. You can do with them as you please. But please don’t do anything to these men. They are my guests. They deserve the protection of my home.
Lot leaves the safety of his home to negotiate with the men of the city, all of whom seem determined to have sex with his guests. Al though his courage is commend able, his solution is deplorable—offering his virgin daughters for the deviant pleasures of his neighbors. But Lot knows their sexual preference is for his guests, not his daughters; so the offer is safe, and he has bought some time.
Men of Sodom: Get out of the way, man!
(to each other) Look, this guy came to our city as a stranger. He’s not one of us, and yet he thinks he has the right to judge all of us!
(to Lot) You better watch out, or we’ll treat you far worse than we will your guests!
They came at Lot and pushed him hard against the door until it was about to break. Just then the men inside reached out and pulled Lot into the house with them, shutting the door securely to block the men of Sodom out. Then the heavenly messengers struck all of the men pressing at the door with blindness—both young and old alike. It wasn’t long before they exhausted themselves blindly groping for the door.
Messengers (to Lot): Do you have anyone else here in the city—sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or any other members of your family—whom you want to save? If so, you need to get them out of here right now! We are going to destroy this place. Because of the immense outcry the Eternal One has received regarding the depravity of this city, the Eternal has sent us here to destroy it.
So Lot went out and found the young men who had pledged to marry his daughters.
Lot: Get up, and get out of this place. The Eternal One is going to destroy the city!
But his sons-in-law thought he was kidding and wouldn’t budge. At dawn, the heavenly messengers urged Lot to action again.
Messengers: Lot, you need to get up and take your wife and two daughters out of here. Otherwise you will be consumed along with the rest of the city.
But Lot kept procrastinating, so the two heavenly messengers grabbed him, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand. They took them outside the city, a safe distance away, because the Eternal decided to show mercy to Lot and his family. As they were leading them to safety, one of the messengers gave this instruction:
Messenger: Now run! Run for your lives! Don’t look back or stop anywhere in the plain. Head for the hills, or you’ll die along with everyone else.
Lot: My lords, no. I realize you have shown me great kindness and favored me by saving my life. But please—I can’t run that far. The devastation will surely catch up with me, and I’ll die anyway. Look, over there is a city. It’s not too far. I could escape there. It’s just a little one. Please, let me go there instead. Then my life will surely be saved!
Messenger: Look, as a favor to you, I won’t destroy the little city you’re talking about. But hurry now; escape there, because I can’t do anything until you arrive there safely!
Because of this, the little city Lot escaped to was called Zoar, which means, “little.”
Lot and his family arrived in Zoar just as the sun was coming up. Then the Eternal One rained sulfur and fire from out of the heavens onto Sodom and Gomorrah. He destroyed both cities, along with the other villages and towns in the valley and all of the people who lived there—even the vegetation was wiped out! But Lot’s wife never made it; she lagged behind her husband and looked back—despite the messenger’s advice—and turned into a pillar of salt.
Lot’s wife makes a fateful turn. She stops and looks back. No one knows why. Perhaps it is to mourn the past. Perhaps curiosity gets the better of her; but instead of looking ahead to her destination—a place of safety and security—she turns around and looks back at what she has left behind. In that instant, as the messenger warned, she perishes. All that is left of her is a standing pillar of salt.
Meanwhile, Abraham rose early in the morning and went out to the place where he had stood at the feet of the Eternal One. He looked down toward where Sodom and Gomorrah had been. He looked up and down the valley, and everywhere he looked clouds of smoke were billowing up—black, like smoke from a giant furnace. Now you know the story of how God destroyed the cities of the valley, but remembered Abraham and His covenant with him. So He sent Lot out of the destruction—out of the cities where he had been living.
After a brief time, Lot left Zoar and settled in the hill country with his two daughters. He was afraid to stay in Zoar, so he and his daughters made their home in a cave. One day, the firstborn daughter took her younger sister aside to discuss the future.
Firstborn Daughter: Our father is getting old. We’ll never find a suitable husband around here. There’s no one to father our children according to accepted custom. Come on—let’s get him drunk on wine. Then we’ll each sleep with him. That way, we’ll be sure to have children to continue the family line.
So they got Lot drunk that night, and the firstborn daughter went in and slept with her father. He was so drunk, he had no idea when she entered or when she left. On the next day, the firstborn told her younger sister what had happened.
Firstborn Daughter: Look, I did it. I slept with my father last night. Now it’s your turn. Let’s get him drunk again tonight. Then you go in and sleep with him too. That way we’ll both have children through our father to ensure our family line.
So they made their father drink wine until he was drunk a second time, and the younger daughter slept with him that night. Again Lot had no idea when she entered or when she left. As a result, both daughters became pregnant by their father. The firstborn daughter gave birth to a son and named him Moab. He became the ancestor of the Moabites that you know of today. The younger daughter also gave birth to a son and named him Ben-ammi. Ben-ammi is the ancestor of the Ammonites that you also know of today.